Every year over a million people are stalked in Britain, resulting in harassment, fear, physical assault and in some extreme cases rape and murder. The UK has an extremely high stalking rate which is increasingly on the rise and it is estimated that 1 in 5 women and 1 in 10 men who have been stalked have even come face to face with their own stalker.
Brian Woods from True Vision says, ‘In the past stalking has often not been taken seriously enough by either the police or the courts, but the setting up of the National Stalking Clinic hopefully marks a shift in attitude. To a victim, stalking can have a devastating effect, dominating their life and making them afraid to leave the house, open their email, or answer their phone. We are privileged to have been given access to this new initiative, and I hope we will be able to make a film that will bring home to the public and the authorities just how terrifying it can be to become the target of a stalker.’
In an attempt to probe deep into the mind of a stalker and discover what triggers their thoughts and actions, Channel 4 has commissioned a brand new Cutting Edge documentary called Britain’s Stalking Epidemic. The film will provide an insight into the work of specialist psychiatrists at The National Stalking Clinic in North London. Channel 4 has been granted unique access to the clinic which sees psychiatrists explore the inner psychology of stalkers and the sexual and malicious triggers for their actions, as well tracking their treatment and rehabilitation.
The National Stalking Clinic was set up by a team of specialist forensic psychiatrists in December 2011 who believe treatment and rehabilitation of stalkers is vital to prevent more victims. The psychiatrists work closely with the offenders to try and stop their predatory behaviour which can prove challenging when they are all fixated and obsessed with their victims. Psychiatrists need to effectively balance the impulsive behaviour of these stalkers and make them take responsibility for their actions; as well as taking into account their individual rights to be free from harm and menace.
Britain’s Stalking Epidemic will observe and examine closely the rehabilitation journey of several different ‘types’ of stalkers. It will intimately examine the stalker’s complex desires and behaviour as they come into contact with the forensic psychiatric teams treating them, and their specially chosen victims
Emma Cooper from Channel 4 adds ‘I am very excited about what is extraordinary access to a ground-breaking new unit dealing with a growing and very contemporary phenomenon, and the team behind it bring an exceptional level of experience and talent to the project. This is a stand out tale of our times and an example of what I want Cutting Edge film to reflect. Stories that are right at the nub of what it means to live in the UK in 2012 told expertly by our most talented film-makers. Britain’s Stalking Epidemic is my first Cutting Edge commission and marks a new run of exciting new Cutting Edge films telling compelling stories about the world we live in with insight, intelligence and ambition.’
Other episodes in the series look at Gender Dysphoria which is a rare and fascinating story of the lives of young children living with gender dysphoria exploring the prejudices that lay ahead and following their families as they work closely with clinicians and psychiatrists to help them prepare for what the future holds. Supercars is an insight into the influx of supercars and their wealthy owners in central London each summer and Meeting Ian Brady sees cameras follow the upcoming public mental health tribunal from the perspective of those closest to the case including his mental health advocate, lawyers and psychiatrists – many of whom have never spoken on television before.